Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Tulsa's Next Big Star - you decide (we hope)

Lisa tried out for KOTV's Gimme the Mic!

She won't know for a while how she did. But here is what I caught on camera.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Restaurant Review and the Downfall of Modern Television

Last night the family went out to eat with friends. Lisa had tried a new restaurant and wanted me to try it.

Los Cabos is a new TexMex place in Broken Arrow. It is located next door to Bass Pro. It's a big restaurant with lots of seating. They have a patio room that looks over the pond. There are supposedly tortilla chip loving fish in the pond that you can feed.

The menu was heavily weighted with enchiladas and fajitas. You can get tacos, tamales, and burritos as well. Price wise the supper menu was a little pricey for Mexican. Dinners start out at 8.99 and go up to about 11.99. Steaks and ribs run even higher. I went with a combination platter with three types of enchiladas (cheese, beef, and chicken fajita). I wasn't greatly impressed. The flavor was not as filled out as I like. It seemed to be missing something. It had a blandness quality that disrupted the entire dish.

Lisa enjoys the chicken fajita enchilada and is overly protective of it. She wouldn't even consider sharing a meal with one. One interesting thing I hadn't encountered was a two salsa appetizer. The one salsa was traditional tomato salsa. The second was a heated salsa. It was more earthy or smoky. I didn't ask what it was but I'm betting chipotle played a major role in it.

After dinner we headed next door to Bass Pro to work our supper off. Let me just say that I could spend a LOT of money in Bass Pro. I saw lots of things that would be fun to play with. But I only left with a fishing license.

Now, on to the second topic. We got home about 7:50 last night. That meant that Lisa missed most of her new favorite show: Dancing With the Stars. And I really have to say that I am totally irked at television networks. It used to be that when you watched a show, it was on one time a week for part of a season, then a break, and the completion of the season. It always wrapped up and then went into rebroadcasts (reruns) until the season premiere. These days, if you are into new shows, you better pay close attention to your television listings.

The idea of seasons is totally trashed. You may get 5 or 6 new episodes and then it takes a break for a while. You have to wait for the new episodes to begin again. Then there are the new shows that start during the season hiatus. You don't know if they are coming back or when. You also have to wonder what time slot they will be in. They may move it or make it a 1 1/2 hour or two hour special.

Now my biggest gripe: loss of originality. I'm not talking about copycat shows. There have always been copycat series. Popular cop shows begat more popular cop shows. Family centered sitcoms produce more family centered sitcoms. My gripe is this new fad of putting the same show on two nights a week. The first one I remember was Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Now all of the "interactive"/telethon shows fill up the schedule. American Idol, Dancing with the Stars are both multiple night events. All because of some false sense of interaction and instant gratification.

Let's see some originality in our television. Let's see writers come up with something new and, heaven forbid, creative. Not more mindless and hollow sitcoms filled with running gags of sex and male ineptitude. Not more of these fake interactive contests. But really creative.

Hey! Someone needs to create a new Emergency! Now that would be a great idea.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Someone Challenged Something in the Sermon

Yesterday's sermon spoke deeply to some. I had some great feedback from folks. Thank you all for being receptive. I admit that part of the passion behind yesterday's sermon was frustration with the growing level of broken relationships in the church because of offense (real and received/perceived).

But someone challenged me on something that I said.

Let me start by saying that I do not mind people challenging me if they don't agree with something. I don't even mind if you go so far as to say, "You are wrong, buddy." Just let me know how you came to your position. That way I won't take offense.

For those who didn't have the benefit of yesterday's sermon, here is the nutshell version.

TEXT: Matthew 18:15-18
TITLE: Confronting Offensive Behavior

I started by relating the week's events regarding the Imus/Rutgers news blitz. No matter where you turned, every news source was fixated on this incident. So I wrestled with why this bugged me. It came down to the extreme example of how we are a nation of the offended. When we encounter someone who offends us we go into victim mode to defend, protect, and get restitution/revenge for ourselves. And this is the culture we live in. INCLUDING the church.

So I went back to Matthew's gospel account of how to handle a situation when someone "sins (against us)". The steps outlined in this passage are:

1.) If someone sins (against us) then we are to go to the person in private and deal with that person to the end that the relationship is restored;
2.) If they do not respond we are to take two or three "witnesses" to bring the matter to them;
3.) If they don't respond then we are to bring the matter before the church;
4.) If the person still does not respond then we are to treat them as a Gentile or tax-collector.

I wanted to make the point that this is not about church rules nor ostracizing or excommunicating someone (although it has been used that way). This was a method of restoring relationship when someone offends another.

The point that someone challenged me on was #2. I made the statement that Matthew's gospel "borrows" a line from Jewish law to give #2 authority. Jewish law required that statements must be corroborated by 1 or 2 witnesses. I interpreted that in this passage to say that the offended should bring "witnesses" before the offender who were witnesses to the offense to support the offended in their claim.

I was challenged by someone who interpreted the passage to read that the offended bring witnesses to verify what was said between the offended and offender.

I still stand by my interpretation. But I can see the point of the other person.

So I put it to you: how do you interpret this passage?

Matt 18:16
16 "But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so thatBY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED.
NASU


Matt 18:16-17
16 But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses.
NLT


Matt 18:16
16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'
NIV

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Two of my favorites: Star Wars and bagpipes

I love Star Wars.

And I love bagpipes.

And I got a kick out of finding this on another blog.

So I must share.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Skeleton in God's Closet

When I was in seminary, I read a book that had a deep and profound impact on me. Well, two really cause I did read the Bible. But the book I'm talking about was a novel.

I typically will not read "Christian" fiction. I haven't found too many overtly Christian novels stimulating. But this one was very engaging. I began reading it one morning and only got of the couch to go to the bathroom and to walk down to the corner store for something to eat. I finished it in 10 hours. It was an exciting and very addictive read. The book is A Skeleton In God's Closet by Paul L. Maier.

The premise of the book is the discovery of solid proof that Jesus was not resurrected but stayed dead. It also explores the reaction to the discovery. And also how the man responsible for the discovery handles the consequences.

I picked the book up off the shelf again this week. It's going to be my weekend read. I like reading it around Easter. But the book puts forward a very important question for reader and believers. What would it take to destroy your faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ?

Over the last few years there have been "discoveries" that have attempted to shed light on the person of Jesus. Was he a historical person? Were his miracles just that? What did he look like? What about different gospels about the life of Jesus? Was Jesus married and have children? What about a tomb with evidence pointing to the biblical family of Jesus?

In each case Christians have jumped in front of cameras and reporters to offer how these things could not possibly be credible. They have argued that these things have to be false. Sometimes the responses have been so over the top that I am embarrassed by them.

But some feel that they have to fight to prove these theories wrong as if the entire life of the church was threatened. If that is the case, then it won't take much to destroy the church.

In truth, I believe that most people's faith is more easily threatened than they will admit. For some it may be a tragic death of a loved one they cannot recover from. It may be a good, strong argument against something they believe in. Maybe they just get tired of being a Christian. But most of all it comes down to one thing: their faith has not been nurtured, tended, or exercised.

Lisa just put out some plants in front of the house.





And this weekend (Easter) we are expecting freezing temperatures.

Now, those little plants' roots aren't very deep. They have not had to face anything more challenging than whether or not they were going to be put on the clearance rack at Lowe's. This weekend is going to be a challenge for them. But the test will prove if they are hearty enough to make it. If not, well, there's always more on the clearance rack.

For those whose faith is no more than a convenience or tradition, that faith will not last through the tough times nor through challenges. Being a life-long member of a church will not substitute for a living, dynamic, growing faith in Jesus Christ.

This Easter we will celebrate again the resurrection of Jesus Christ and remember an empty tomb. Next year we will celebrate again that same thing. And the year after. And I will bet that next year or the year after someone will have a new discovery that will attempt to shed light on the Jesus story. But each and every day between now and then is an opportunity to discover a deeper life in Jesus Christ and relationship with Him.

He is alive! Amen!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Lisa singing update

Many have been wondering when we might find out whether Lisa would be singing at a Driller's game. Well the word just came in: No.

22 out of 101 were selected and Lisa didn't make the cut off this time.

But that doesn't mean she doesn't deserve to be heard. So here she is again:

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The end of infield chatter

I do not hide the fact that I do not approve of organized athletic activities for youth and children. I have my own demons to blame for some of it. But as I watch the growth of organized programs, I see the life, fun, and passion for athletic activities being sucked out and replaced with rigid professionalism.

The latest victim - infield chatter.

You know the traditional chatter - "Hey batt-a-batt-a-batt-a, swiiing batta." Occasionally you'd hear things about a pitcher's arm. Most times it is to intimidate the batter into swinging poorly or get the pitcher riled so they can't pitch with accuracy. But here is an article from the Cincinnati Enquirer:


The Knothole Club of Greater Cincinnati has decided to eliminate "chatter." Unless the chatter is "positive" and directed at your own team. You can't say "We want a pitcher, not an underwear stitcher!" unless, maybe, you grew up in a culture that idolizes underwear stitchers. Standings for the Feelgood Division of the Self Esteem League will be available any time now...

Knothole follows the Rules of Major League Baseball. Rule 4.06(a)(2) states, "No manager, player, substitute, coach, trainer or batboy shall at any time, whether from the bench, the coach's box or on the playing field or elsewhere, use language which will in any manner refer to or reflect upon opposing players, an umpire, or any spectator."


So we have to make sure that 10 and 12 year olds follow the same rules as the MLBA. So for all of you parents out there getting your future Darryl Strawberry's steroid regimens prepared, you may want to lay off because random drug tests are soon.

Yes, I think this is ridiculous. The reason for the rule is this:

Proponents of the new edict say it was a necessary response to increased incidents of taunting. They cite one especially ugly example from June, involving a game in Colerain Township between two teams of 14-year-olds in the A-2 division. One parent received 15 stitches after a player whacked him on the forehead with a metal-spiked baseball shoe.

The incident began with a coach being ejected for arguing a balk call and escalated into a full-scale brawl.

Apparently these days, one kid's "no batt-uh" is another kid's "let's throw down."

"We didn't want Knothole to get a bad name for anything," Knothole president Dave Epplen explained. "If you're saying, 'Swing, batter,' and this poor little kid is swinging at everything, he feels bad and maybe he turns to the catcher and gets mad. Honest to gosh, I didn't have any trouble doing this."


Our youth watch professional league players and parents. They have seen that the only way to cope with frustration and deal with conflict is to make it violent. Notice that it was a coach who started the fight and it was a parent involved in the fracas that was injured. So it sounds like a better rule may be that:
no adult shall say anything negative about another adult or child, actively involved in the game or not; nor shall they act like a complete buffoon, moron, idiot, rage-filled maniac, or professional wrestler at any time when youth or children or any person of worth is in their presence.
Any youth league has my permission to use this rule freely in their bylaws. As long as anyone who breaks this rule is forced to some heinously stupid and utterly humiliating punishment.

The fun is gone. If you want to see baseball as it should be, rent The Sandlot. That is how kids should be playing baseball.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Theological Worldview

I have preached on worldview. It is the lens or lenses through which each one of us understands and responds to the circumstances in our lives. I believe that Christians should have a worldview that is heavily weighted toward a biblical understanding of God as revealed through Jesus Christ. And that our response to the world should be patterned as much as possible after the life and teaching of Jesus Christ.

As a way of discovering how you may view the world, I would present this blog quiz. What is posted here is my results. I will interpret at the end. But you can also find your own theological worldview by following the link.

You scored as Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan. You are an evangelical in the Wesleyan tradition. You believe that God's grace enables you to choose to believe in him, even though you yourself are totally depraved. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us. You are influenced heavly by John Wesley and the Methodists.

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan

86%

Emergent/Postmodern

57%

Roman Catholic

57%

Neo orthodox

46%

Classical Liberal

36%

Charismatic/Pentecostal

25%

Reformed Evangelical

25%

Fundamentalist

18%

Modern Liberal

7%

What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com



It is appropriate that I would have a Wesleyan/Holiness worldview. That has been an intentional pursuit. I have a deep and abiding respect for John Wesley, the founding force behind Methodism. I read Wesley's writings about faith and how followers of Christ should live. I agree with Wesley's theological points. I also read other writers in this tradtion.

But the second category is also very important. Emergent/postmodern worldviews reflect a growing movement in the church. It is also something that reflects who I am at this time in my life. It is part of the title of this blog. It is generational (being in a certain generation) as well as practical (how I think and respond to my environment).

There was a tie between second and third. And third may surprise some. But Roman Catholicism is a traditional church. And I am firmly convinced that the past educates us for the present and bears fruit in the future. It truly captures the Renaissance aspect of the title.

I really love talking about this stuff. But realize some of you have already fallen asleep. So, go find out what your theological worldview is and post comments to continue the conversation.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Happy Birthday (a few days late)

I promised my wife a blog post for her birthday. I know. What every woman wants from her husband.

This one is different. Lisa has a dream to sing publicly. Not in church. But on stage in front of folks. So I heard about an opportunity to spread those wings. And told her about open auditions for the Tulsa Driller's baseball teams. Not to play baseball. But to sing the National Anthem before the game.

So on her birthday, Lisa auditioned for the talent scout to sing the National Anthem.

And like a good husband, I'm posting it for the world to see.



Lisa did a good job. Of course, she didn't believe me. But after 1 1/2 hours of hearing the National Anthem sung in some very interesting ways, I will never hear the National Anthem the same way again.